North Dakota State Offers Counseling to Students Aggrieved Over Trump Election Victory

Anna Dovre and Katie Black, students at Concordia College, hold a "Love trumps Hate" sign on the Veterans Memorial Bridge on Thursday night. The students were among 20 other protesters at the Anti-Trump Demonstration. Kim Hyatt / The Forum

Institutions of higher education around the country are offering therapy and counseling to students distraught over the outcome of the 2016 election.

“Students at Cornell University gathered to hold a ‘cry-in’ with students drinking hot chocolate and using tissues handed out by school staff,” the Washington Free Beacon reports. “The University of Kansas announced that it would regularly bring in therapy dogs to campus while Tufts University had arts and crafts on hand.”

According to an email I obtained from a faculty member this evening North Dakota State University is also making counseling services available.

“We have received questions and concerns from several of you about how to address student concerns, as expressed in the classroom, after this week’s presidential election,” an email sent out to faculty members by Vice Provost Canan Bilen-Green reads, providing a list of campus offices where students can get assistance.

The email also states that the university will be holding an “open forum” later this month “to address faculty questions and concerns about serving our students.”

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Graphic via the NDSU Spectrum

You can read the whole email below. I’d welcome any tips from readers about similar services being offered at the state’s other campuses.

There are two points to make here:

First, anyone think NDSU would be offering counseling for precious snowflakes had Hillary Clinton won? Probably not.

Second, I wonder how many students are actually distraught over this? The NDSU Spectrum (the student newspaper) conducted a survey in cooperation with the school’s statistics department earlier this month and found plurality support for Trump among students.

In fact, as you can see from the graphic to the right, Trump was the most popular candidate among students in all but one of the university’s colleges, though he had majority support in only two. Anyway, it seems there are plenty of Trump supporters among the students. Maybe the administration is just projecting their own feelings about the election onto students?

Meanwhile, psychology professor Clay Routledge (who actually works at NDSU, as it happens) has written extensively about the coddling of students on campus. “[T]he victim protection campaigns many colleges are engaged in not only underestimate human resilience, they may actually cause the problems they are designed to solve because they suggest to students who wouldn’t otherwise feel like victims that they are, in fact, victims,” he wrote for the John Pope Center earlier this month.

He goes on to point out that fetishizing victimhood the sort of thing people with too much time on their hands do, and that it might be healthier for students to just learn how to deal with things that challenge or offend them:

Curiously, the loudest cries often come from students attending the most expensive and elite colleges. Poor single moms trying to work their way through community college don’t have time to fetishize victimhood. I know that there are students who legitimately struggle with mental illness and they should get the help they need, but as a nation we cannot afford to celebrate and promote psychological fragility.

Nothing good can come from treating colleges like hospitals, places where sick students come to be quarantined and healed. Instead, we should treat colleges like fitness centers for the brain, places where students learn to build their mental muscles. Training is hard, sometimes painful. But it makes one stronger.

I get that people don’t like Trump.

Hell, I don’t like Trump.

But the admission price for participation in a free, pluralistic society is tolerating, if not condoning, things which offend you.

Here’s the full email:

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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